Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Matthew 5:10 ESV
Happy Thanksgiving to each and every one of you!
Today we celebrate with friends and family. I am looking forward to my large gathering this afternoon and yes, I will be insisting on some game playing! Fellowship is where it’s at! Wahoo!!!
But we need to also thank God for all of our blessings. Remember my Tuesday blog? Blessings come in many shapes and sizes. Today I am thankful for the liberation I have felt over the past three years of my life. Who would have thought that breast cancer and almost dying (while feeling great!) would help me find liberation? I have severed the cords of tyranny in my life and surround myself with good, positive energy.
Now, let me tell you about my Thanksgiving. I have a haunting obsession with Pilgrims. I love watching Pilgrim movies…of which there are not enough. I read Mayflower books over and over again at this time of year. It is hard for me to imagine how scary that journey was for the 100+ passengers that departed from England to cross the sea. When they arrived, there were no buildings to seek comfort, no crowds to bid them hello, and no stores of food to nourish their weary souls. Just forest and lots of hard work. And native Americans. And winter. Anyone of those would intimidate me. But they persevered. And soon, after a period of suffering, they flourished. And more people came. Soon the New World wasn’t quite so scary.
What we often forget is that the Pilgrims came here to escape religious persecution. If you read the book, Martyr’s Mirror, you will understand what real persecution is.
I can’t imagine living in a country where we could not worship God in the manner I want. I cannot imagine being told who and how to worship. That would be terrible, in my opinion. These pilgrims did more than help create a success story of survival in the New World. They created a foundation of freedoms and liberties that continue today. I often wonder if our country would be so focused on freedom of speech, choice, religion, etc. if the Pilgrims had not made that journey. What if America had begun as a penal colony?
So today I will read aloud about November 9, 1620 when the Pilgrims first saw land (after three months of yucky travel). I will read aloud about the first Thanksgiving and possibly have people re-enact it (I love having my guests participate in theatrical productions!). I will remind everyone that we need to be thankful for a lot more than food, health, and prosperity. We need to be thankful for those Pilgrims who took that amazing chance in order to permit us, almost four hundred years later, the ability to worship God in the manner of our own choosing without fear of punishment.
*It is important to note that Jamestown was already established prior to the Pilgrims’ journey as were several other settlements in Virginia and also one in New York.*